internal monologue externalised & mispelt: ramblings on high fashion, food, art & other filth from a Londoner with a thing for cake, couture & cock-tails.
"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every 6 months"
Kyle Hopkins is one of the most exciting and subversive young jewelery designers in London today. His latest collection of golden pieces proves this - with a unique narrative, sense of social commentary and deep meaning in every single piece...
...it's a meaning that he purposefully leaves open to interpretation for the wearer and viewers. Beauty, meaning and open ended stories - i love it.
Dark style has reached something of landmark in it's history, as Stylenoir - the world largest digital dark style magazine lauches it's debut limited edition print issue. With a readership of over a million online, Stylenoir already defines the dark aesthetic globally, but as editor James Joseph says "...to get our message heard and truly rid Gothic of stigma, we had to showcase Stylenoir in print".
At 120 pages, it's a collectable bible of dark style in the modern world - featuring dramatic fashion editorials, interviews with noir icons and exclusively commisioned art - all under the incredible title Retribution. As with Stylenoir's digital magazine, the print issue sets out to unearth and celebrate the beauty of everything that is dark and macabre.
Jacqueline du Pré's wild playing style was not to everybody’s taste. Her head shock furiously with a passionate ferocity that was almost a premonition for the hairography that many an r ‘n b diva would later adopt in the 1990’s. Her technical ability – whilst virtually flawless – was overshadowed by her overly emotional tone and expressive romanticism. Her vibrato was fast, wide and most often uncontrolled. Her dynamics were frenetic - with little respect for what was actually written on the page (“once the composer has finished the piece, it’s mine” she once said in a rehearsal when questioned about why she was playing forte in a piano section of the Delius concerto). She played to her own time, savoring on some notes for longer than made musical sense were they to particularly move her in the moment. And then there was her signature portamento – sliding from note to note like the music is an ocean and every note a wave. As a result, she was seen by the critics as vulgar. Indulgent. Unnecessarily colourful. Lacking intonation. Inappropriate. Distasteful. *cough* "Female". And uncontrolled.
But she quite literally could not have given less of a fuck. You see whilst most musicians seek to ‘connect’ with their audiences, Jacqueline completely transcended this – when she played, the sound bonded the listener instantly to her soul. I recently found this early recording of her playing Saint-Saëns Allegro Appasionato – and in a few short minutes of rare footage it shows everything that was remarkable about her genius and indeed her style...
Her hair flicks and flies crazily. She sways from side to side like a drunk. She changes the notes as she pleases. She unashamedly slides and glides and glisses – making a point of playing consecutive notes with her little finger – in places where for a cellist this makes absolutely no technical sense what so ever. Her concentration is intense but she also looks like she's paying no attention to what she is doing at all. She is simultaneously detached from the cello as a physical object and yet completely connected to it as if it’s a part of her. It’s stylishly poised – yet not remotely pretentious. It’s engrossingly intimate but exuberantly joyful. It’s just really quite incredible.
I love any brand that is brave enough to surprise the public with something completely and utterly unexpected – especially when the end result is quite brilliant. Superdry is one such a brand. Whilst known to most as the purveyor of cult British street-wear infused with the spirit of Japan – Superdry also has a somewhat more classical and refined side.
Surprised? I was too, at least until I saw the exclusive collection of contemporary British tailoring designed in collaboration with Timothy Everest - tailor to some of the most famous people in the world.
Entitled ‘Sebiro’ – the Japanese word for ‘suit’ – the capsule collection of suits and jackets has meticulous attention to detail, super-skinny cuts, fine quality cloths and some quintessentially British unexpected hand-finished details like concealed button fastenings, discrete earphone loops and those awesome brightly colour-popped pockets and collars.
Designed as a separates range to mix and match with Superdry's casual street-wear, the range centres around a few key looks: The Super Spy – a low-cut single-breasted two button jacket, with peak lapels; The Bank Robber (my personal favourite) - a four button double-breasted jacket with peak lapels; The San Franciscan – a casual fitted single breasted three button jacket; The Country Rebel – a laid back and relaxed, single-breasted four button jacket; Fine tailoring - a classical single breasted jacket; and the newest offering to the collection, The Town Coat – a tailored design classic.
What I love about the collection most is how it’s tied to tradition but takes the license of streetwear to add a twist – most notably those iconic brightly coloured collars.
Tailored & traditional yet completely modern at the same time - everything you'd want from the creative collaboration of two British heavy weights. It's avaliable now online and in select Superdry stores. Superdry x Timothy Everest - unexpected - in all the best possible ways.
Mohsin Ali graduated from the London College of Fashion back in 1999 with a First Class degree – and looking at his AW13 menswear collection it’s easy to see why.
He has a passion for traditional and technical fabrics - as well a methodical fascination with cut and silhouette.
His approach is simple but strikingly effective – the removal of ornamentation – which only when analysed and looked at closely reveals it’s real beauty. I love all of the martial arts Taekwondo references - with the belt motif being used throughout - along with the beautiful quilting.
What’s more everything is fully manufactured in the UK to the highest quality. It’s simplicity and minimalism done to maximum effect – and I completely adore it. Available
The art of seduction is a fine one – but Donna Karan’s AW13 campaign evidently has no issues in this area. Model Catherine McNeil poses alongside Andres Velencoso in a boudoir like artist studio, for what is a strikingly sexual campaign...
Dark, moody, highly-charged and provocative - simply stunning!
Eddie and Patsy driving around in their Absolutely Fabulous chauffeur and making every excuse they could to go via Harvey Nichols - even if it was in the complete wrong direction - is something I think we can all identify with. Whilst we may not all be lucky enough to have drivers, Harvey Nichols is more accessible then ever, with seven stores around the country (Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds) as well as being available 24/7 online. What makes them so unique is that they're a fashion authority that take their selection and editing very VERY seriously. But then they have too - apparently, you can fit all 8 floors of the Knightbridge Harvey Nichols store into just 1 floor of Harrods - and so every single piece that they select HAS to be very carefully considered, with the fashion conscious HN consumer in mind.
And this meticulous selection process isn't just for the ladies - because Harvey Nichols is now THE destination boutique store for menswear as well. And to prove it, what's really exciting is that for AW13 they are bringing on board a whole selection of new menswear brands to get your sartorial taste buds salivating, catering too all the big autumn trends - from varsity to punk, urban knitwear to gothic street wear, and patchwork to my personal favourite, the heavy print! Here's a pick of some of my favourite brands within their new AW13 lineup...
Anne Demuelemeester - a dark shadowy AW13 collection that's true to Ann's signature look, flocking and chandelier prints in a chic monochrome palette
Damir Doma - the Paris based designer focuses on texture for his AW13 collection through quilting, piping and contrasting panels in a modern and wearable
Aqua by Aqua- bringing wonderfully trippy prints and a high fashion aesthetic to street wear, Aqua by Aqua is an innovative and fresh addition
Mr Hare - epitomising underground classic cool when it comes to shoes
Gareth Pugh- adding a dark twist to the Harvey Nicholls menswear selection, Gareth Pugh's leather and sculptured tailoring is wonderfully gothic.
Public School - a collection inspired by the energy, beauty and darker side of New York. Now that's cool!
Casely-Hayford - merging East London sports influences with hip-hop culture, this collection gives street wear with a contemporary Japanese edge
Dior Homme- sleek and structured is what AW13 at Dior Homme as all about. Synched in with safety belt buckles, closed with unexpected zips and tailored to create a modern sleek silhouette
General Idea- this Korean label plays with panelling, contrasting fabrics, quilted outerwear and piece-work Jersey's creating a sporty oversized look
Valentino- debuting at Harvey Nicholls, the AW13 Valentino collection, with youthfully cut plaid suits and leather panelled tailored overcoats
Probably shouldn't say this now that the sun has just about emerged for this year, but i kinda can't wait for autumn now - because if Harvey Nichols have anything to do with it, it's going to be a damn stylish one!
Thus goes one of the most brilliant scenes in the 1961 Disney film of 101 Dalmatians…
Cruella de Ville: Fifteen. Fifteen puppies! How marvellous! How marvellous! How perfectly... Ugh! Oh, the devil take it, they're mongrels. NO SPOTS! NO SPOTS AT ALLl! What a horrid little white rat!
Nanny: They're not mongrels! They'll get their spots. Just wait and see.
Anita: That's right, Cruella. They'll have their spots in a few weeks.
Cruella de Ville: Oh, well, in that case I'll take them all. The whole litter. Just name your price, dear.
…and it rings true with the tour-de-force that was the original literary character. Cruella de Vile, in Dodie Smith’s novel was an intimidating and glamorously pampered fashion obsessed heiress in London who’s bite really was worse than her bark. And she was completely and utterly addicted to fur. Spotted Dalmatian fur in particular. So much so that she makes it her purpose in life to take the fur of 99 Dalmatian’s to turn into a coat.
Joseph Turvey’s aw13 collection showcased at the Fashion East installations, set out to create a ‘gang’ for this iconic fur-obsessed style demon…
And why wouldn’t you take a demented diva, desperate to sashay in puppy skins with her signature two-tone hair and cigarette holder as your collections muse? Especially when you are one of the rising stars of British menswear like Joseph is.
The collection saw his illustrated prints evolving from beautiful boys and foliage to Cruella’s spotted canine fantasy - mixed in with heavy sequinned embellishments and accents of red. Cleverly the collection mixed black Dalmatian spots against white, but also embossed shimmering black spots on black as well.
What’s brilliant about Turvey is that in just a few short collections, he’s has established a signature aesthetic that’s unmistakably him – yet each collection remains distinctly self-contained and uniquely different.
Completely love it – here’s hoping that Ursula from the Little Mermaid or Jafar from Aladin are inspiration for his future collections.
There's something wonderfully calming about the hang-overs on a bank holiday sunday morning - when you have a freshly brewed Caravan roast coffee in your hand and are about to stuff an "entire packet of fish-fingers fish-finger sandwich" into your gob, knowing that you can soon start drinking again guilt-free, safe in the knowledge that there is no school tomorrow. The picture of the beach on the packet of them there fish-fingers, reminded me of my wonderful birthday treat last year from @misstallett - a day of sparkling English wine, sunshine, tubs of fresh seafood, 'favourite rock hunting', cliff side lunching at Jojo's (oh my god go - just go - fucking incredible!) and paddling in Whitstable. If you've never been, you should. It has a classic old school charm that only ice-cream cones, the sounds of the sea and hankies on heads can give. It's a charm that you're greeted with almost the second you get off the train at the incredible Valentines Vintage - who specialise in British & European mid 20th century furniture, homeware and clothing, along with wondeful art from local artists...
I just want everything - especially the pineapple ice holder! Anyways, back to those fish-fingers... with breakfast wine? Hell yeah. Rude not too. Happy Bank Holiday y'all!
Finding a good pair of jeans is an eternal battle – but I’m a bit obsessed with MQT’s raw industrial denim & chino collections. They are, as those three letters denote, Masters of Quality and Tradition and the AW13 collection is engineered with a timeless vintage aesthetic.
This season’s collection has a range of new washes and cuts from ‘ultra skinny’ to ‘tapered drop-crotch’, and ‘bootcut’ to ‘vintage slim’ - each pair being treated with a dyeing and washing process, that varies its colour and makes each one unique.
The family run company was built based on the principles of quality with every garment put through vigorous tests.
Also love that they've got Ben Smallwood fronting this campaign - the skinny jean is well and truly back (never went away if you ask me)...
...and the camo denim shirt's are insanely on trend for autumn.
They're available in Selfridges and Asos - go check them out!
Does every girl deserve a happily ever after ending on her wedding day? Fuck no – not every girl. Misery should reign in some cases I say. Especially on wedding day’s of the slightly deranged - because when it comes to style, an unhinged woman scorned is far more of an attraction than a vacant woman indulged in her foppish Mr Darcy fantasy. In fact for me, THE greatest character in English literature of all time has to be Dicken's Miss Havisham - representing a very British eccentricity that only pure pain can have caused. Extreme pain. To a woman. The kind that is unbearably searing. Excruciating. Agonising. Violently stabbing. That has to have revenge. And eventually leads to self-inflicted death.
At 8.40am on her wedding day, Miss Havisham received a letter from the man she was expecting to greet her at the end of the aisle in a matter of minutes. She had been gilted and from that moment onwards she stopped time dead in its tracks. Actually stopped it. Froze everything in that moment forever. All of the clocks in her house were deadened at 8.40am, never to tick a second further. She lived her remaining days in her wedding dress – and left her wedding feast out to rot - for the rats and moths and spiders to gorge on - decaying with it like a mould infested cake...
Such was her state of mind that she then adopted a daughter, raising her in such a twisted fucked up way that she "stole her heart away and put ice in it's place". Through her daughter’s cold heart, Miss Havisham scorned the world, scorned Pip, scorned her ex-husband-to-be and scorned herself. Yet whilst the clocks may have stopped, time did not. She grew old. And eventually set fire to herself - dying of a broken heart and melted throat. Tragique? Oui. But a woman who lives bitterly suffering and tortured forever in her cursed wedding dress, is surely the ultimate in a style statement.
I have something of an obsession with the Yiqing Yin SS13 couture collection. The Chinese born designer aims to create a garments that “protect and reinforce, being at the same time a second skin and a supple armour”. She looks to sculpts the emptiness around the body “searching for balance and points of rupture between the flowing zones and the sculpted zones”.
There’s something incredible Miss Havisham about the collection. Unfinished. Creased. Jagged. Web ridden. Scissored. Raw. Unhemmed. Encrusted. Hollow. Laced. Shredded. Crushed. Eaten. Gilted. Burnt. Ghostly. Dead. But somehow done with that fairy tale couture fantasy.
The finale piece especially is quite breath-taking...
It's too brilliant. If I’m ever a bride, Yiqing Yin is what I’ll wear. After all, the best form of revenge against a man is to look fucking hot, let the rats eat you and then go up in flames with the fuckers money in your pockets, laughing your way to hell!
There are few things more disheartening than having that euphoric “look at my shiny new things” feeling rained on by a massive cloud of woe, when you realise that everyone else in the world has gone out and bought the exact same t-shirt / shoes / coat / sunglasses as you, and is proudly parading them around Regents Park in the sun for all to see; making YOU look like YOU'VE copied THEM. Exclusivity counts for a lot – and luckily this summer the Jigsaw Menswear design team is adding three exclusive handmade jackets to it’s SS13 selection with only 10 of each piece having been produced. What’s more each has a unique Jigsaw Limited Collection label to prove it.
Available online and in selected Jigsaw stores, they’re bound to sell out quickly – and pretty much guarantee you can ride that “look at my new thing” wave all summer long without the rest of the world raining on your shiny parade!
Back in the 16th century - not content with having to worry about death by means of whatever it was that people in them days died of, gentry folk had paintings done in the Dutch 'vanitas' style to constantly remind them of the futility of life and the inevitability of death by any means. These vanitas paintings - still lifes in essence - featured skulls, hourglasses, fruit, flowers, books, musical instruments, scrolls and well - erm - anything else 'material' - all beautifully displayed together to be proudly placed upon yonder wall above the fire and next to the stag from yesterday's hunt for all thine fellow gentry to come and view and be jealous of.
Why? Well, these vanitas paintings sought to provide a moral justification for attractive objects. For things. Stuffs. Nice stuffs. Designer stuffs. Lovely nice shiny designer expensive nice lovely shiny nice shiny shiny nice stuffs that's expensive and nice and shiny and nice and expensive. The Latin word VANITAS actually means "emptiness" and somehow loosely translated
corresponds - in the art context - to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transitory
nature of all goods and stuffs and things and pursuits and basically everything. It was kinda like the purest form of vanity in a painting - emptiness and worthlessness - just you and your things and a skull to remind you you're dying from the day you are born - immortalised for all to see in a still life and still existing after you are gone and dead and no longer there and dead and gone and dead and dead and gone and dead.
A mirror of who you are - only more self obsessed than a mirror - it was who you projected yourself to be on the walls for all who came unto thine castle. Effectively these paintings pre-empted social media - it wasn't you in those paintings, it was who you wanted people to think you are. Complete vacuous narcissism, yet somehow humbling in that the vanitas painting by it's very existence as a thing itself meant that you accepted - that yes you too - like everyone else - will one day die. The pleasures of life only last whilst they last. So fucking enjoy them whilst you can. Get fucked. Spend. Fuck. Get more fucked. Spend more. Eat. Fuck. Spend. Get Fucked. Buy. Consume. Buy and then go fuck again! WOO! (then spend again)
I've spent the last few days being intrigued by what a contemporary vanitas painting would be. And indeed if this tradition has continued at all - a curiosity that has presented me with this image:
Does it justify disposable living? Does it say - yes, consume - you're gonna die, so why not? Is it primal? Is it uplifting or depressing? I'm not really sure to be honest. Yes it's tongue in cheek - but i suppose there is beauty in a burger, an iphone, a line of K or three, a porno, a Stella - well in anything - when presented in the context of futility. When none of it matters in the end - none of it matters now. And so taking pleasure in it now is neither pointless, meaningful, indulgent or of any spiritual substance. It's just nothingness.
I'm not sure what my personal vanitas would feature. A cello perhaps. Some impossibly intricate Junya Watanabe construction of form and beauty? Possibly. Pornography. I'd say yes. Food. Lots of food. But i guess, it's all nothing. And so to the point of this ridiculously wanky post which to be honest, i'm not even sure i get myself. Things are just things. They have no point. No matter. No purpose in the end. So indulge in the now. It's all nothingness anyways...
I want this incredible printed parka by german designer Micheal Kampe. In the vanitas context it is just nothing after all. Quite literally. Nothing. Empty lovely expensive beautiful nothing...
*buys parka with ridiculous 'in the name of high art' justification*